Klaipėda Region

Arms of Brandenburg.svg
Arms of East Prussia.svg

History of Brandenburg and Prussia
Northern March
pre-12th century
Old Prussians
pre-13th century
Margraviate of Brandenburg
1157–1618 (1806)
Teutonic Order
1224–1525
Duchy of Prussia
1525–1618
Royal (Polish) Prussia
1466–1772
Brandenburg-Prussia
1618–1701
Kingdom in Prussia
1701–1772
Kingdom of Prussia
1772–1918
Free State of Prussia
1918–1947
Klaipėda Region
(Lithuania)
1920–1939 / 1945–present
Brandenburg
(Germany)
1947–1952 / 1990–present
Recovered Territories
(Poland)
1918/1945–present
Kaliningrad Oblast
(Russia)
1945–present
Historical map of Memelland and the northern part of East Prussia.
Historical flag of the Memelland from 1919 to 1924 and de facto until 1939.
Postage stamps of the Klaipėda Region in use 1920-1925. The upper stamp is French with overprint in German "MEMEL". The other stamps are Lithuanian, one with overprint in Lithuanian and in German, the other without. The latter one was issued especially for postal use in the Klaipėda Region.

The Klaipėda Region (Lithuanian: Klaipėdos kraštas) or Memel Territory (German: Memelland or Memelgebiet) was defined by the 1919 Treaty of Versailles in 1920 and refers to the most northern part of the German province of East Prussia, when as Memelland it was put under the administration of the Entente's Council of Ambassadors. The Memel Territory, together with other areas severed from Germany (the Saar and Danzig) was to remain under the control of the League of Nations until a future day when the people of these regions would be allowed to vote on whether the land would return to Germany or not.

Historical overview

In 1226 Duke Konrad I of Masovia requested assistance against the Prussians and other Baltic tribes, including the Skalvians who lived along the Neman River. In March 1226, Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II issued the Golden Bull of Rimini, which provided that the Teutonic Knights would possess lands taken beyond the Masovian border in exchange for securing Masovia. After uprisings of the Baltic Prussian tribes in 1242 through 1274 failed, the Order conquered many remaining western Balts in Lithuania Minor, including the Skalvians, Nadruvians, and Yotvingians. In 1252 the Order constructed Memel Castle where the Dangė river flows into the Neman, at the north end of the Curonian Spit. In 1422, after centuries of conflict, the Order and the Polish–Lithuanian union signed the Treaty of Melno which defined a border between Prussia and Lithuania. Although Grand Duke Vytautas of Lithuania wanted the border to be coextensive with the Neman River, the treaty border started north of Memelberg and ran southeasterly to the Neman. This border remained until 1918. After the Treaty of Melno was signed, many Lithuanians returned to northern Prussia, which became known as Lithuania Minor in the 16th century.

After World War I ended in 1918, the Klaipėda Region was defined[by whom?] as a roughly triangular wedge, with the northern border being the Treaty of Melno border, the southern border following the Neman River, and on the west abutting the Baltic Sea. In 1923, fearing that the western powers would create a free state, Lithuanians took control of the region and, as part of larger regional negotiations, incorporated the region into the State of Lithuania. In March 1939 Lithuania acquiesced to Nazi demands and transferred the Klaipėda Region to Germany. As World War II came to an end in 1945, the Soviet Union incorporated the region into the Lithuanian SSR. Since 1990 the area of the Klaipėda Region has formed part of the independent Republic of Lithuania, as part of Klaipėda and Tauragė counties. The southern border established by the Treaty of Versailles defines the current international boundary between Lithuania and the Kaliningrad Oblast of the Russian Federation.

Other Languages
Afrikaans: Memelland
العربية: ميمللاند
беларуская: Клайпедскі край
Deutsch: Memelland
Esperanto: Memel-regiono
Bahasa Indonesia: Wilayah Klaipėda
magyar: Memel-vidék
Nederlands: Memelland
norsk: Memelland
norsk nynorsk: Memelland
svenska: Memelland
українська: Клайпедський край